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Bananarama: Catch Up With the Original Lineup of the British ’80s Girl Group

The band behind pop classics like 'Cruel Summer' and 'Venus' just released a new greatest hits collection!


In the ’80s, girl groups were staples of the Billboard charts and MTV. Bands like the Bangles and the Go-Go’s showed listeners that women could write their own songs and play their own instruments just as well as the guys could, while across the pond, the vocal trio Bananarama — composed of Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward — hit it big with their delightful mix of new wave, punk and classic pop.

Americans have never been able to resist the charms of British music. Soon enough, Bananarama, which originally formed in 1980 and released their debut album, Deep Sea Skiving, in 1983, became popular in the US, with wildly catchy songs like “Cruel Summer,” “Venus” and “I Heard a Rumour” receiving constant airplay.

Bananarama in 1982
Bananarama in 1982Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty

While Bananarama achieved much success in the US, they were even bigger in their home country, where songs like “Really Saying Something,” “Shy Boy” and “Love in the First Degree” reached the UK top 10. Their international success was such that the Guinness Book of World Records even named them as the most successful female band worldwide, with the most charting singles!

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Bananarama still tours today, albeit as a duo. Siobhan Fahey left the group in 1988, and was then replaced by Jacquie O’Sullivan, who left in 1991. Fahey briefly returned from 2017 to 2018, but today the group consists of only original members Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward. Their most recent album, Masquerade, came out in 2022, and they just released a new greatest hits compilation this year.

Bananarama members Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin in 2023
Bananarama members Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin in 2023Gareth Cattermole/Getty

Bananarama then and now

Wondering what Bananarama has been up to in the 40-plus years since they first hit the scene? Here’s a look at the original lineup of the forever fabulous ’80s girl group, then and now.

Sara Dallin

Sara Dallin in 1984 and 2024
Left: 1984; Right: 2024Michael Putland/Getty; Darren Gerrish/Getty for Broadwick Soho

Sara Dallin started out studying journalism in London, but soon fell into that city’s vibrant music scene of the early ’80s. Bananarama bandmates Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahey were her childhood and college friends, respectively, and as she was getting her start, she performed with punk icons like Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols and Iggy Pop.

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Now 62, Dallin is still going strong as a member of Bananarama. She had a daughter with the band’s dancer, Bassey Walker, in 1991.

Looking back on her four decades in Bananarama in a 2023 interview with Spin, Dallin said, “Older and wiser feels good. To be able to continue making music is a joy … Technology has changed wildly, but the creative process of writing songs is still the same and still the same thrill… I’m proud of our strength and tenacity as women, to succeed and survive in a male-dominated industry.”

Siobhan Fahey

Siobhan Fahey in 1984 and 2021
Left: 1984; Right: 2021Michael Putland/Getty; David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage/Getty

Siobhan Fahey left Bananarama in 1988 due to creative differences. That same year, she formed the duo Shakespears Sister with Marcella Detroit.

Shakespears Sister had a hit with their 1992 single “Stay.” The duo separated the next year, and after briefly stepping away from the spotlight due to struggles with her mental health, Fahey brought back Shakespears Sister as a solo project in 1996. She then reunited with Bananarama in 2017, and with Marcella Detroit of Shakespears Sister in 2019.

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Fahey recorded her first solo album, The MGA Sessions, in 1993, but didn’t release it until 2005. Her most recent album, Songs From the Red Room, a solo work under the Shakespears Sister name, came out in 2009.

Now 65, Fahey was married to another ’80s musical luminary, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, from 1987 to 1996. They have two sons.

Talking to The Guardian following her 2017 reunion with Bananarama, Fahey said that being in the trio was “every bit as intense as a marriage, but without the sex,” and leaving was like “a painful divorce.”

Keren Woodward

Keren Woodward in 1984 and 2024
Left: 1984; Right: 2024Michael Putland/Getty; Darren Gerrish/Getty for Broadwick Soho

Keren Woodward was a classically trained pianist and had a clerical job with the BBC when she founded Bananarama. She remains in the group decades later, along with her childhood friend Sara Dallin.

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Now 63, Woodward has a son and was in a relationship from 1990 to 2017 with Andrew Ridgeley, who performed with George Michael as the ’80s pop duo Wham!

In a 2024 interview with The Guardian, Woodward said she considers “persevering with a career that was predicted to last six months and still being here four decades later” to be her greatest achievement, and said she’d always like to be remembered as “the dark-haired bird from Bananarama.”

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